Mental Illness, Social Security Disability and the Need for a “Highly Supportive” Living Environment

Posted March 13, 2014

In addition to physical impairments, many Social Security Disability applications center on significant psychiatric issues. Some of these issues are pretty straightforward and others are not quite so evident.

Often it is difficult to get a real clear picture of exactly how disabled a person is from a mental health viewpoint. Probably the most overlooked portion of the “Listing of Impairments” as utilized by the Social Security Administration is the segment which focuses on people whose impairments are such that they simply cannot live by themselves. The most common scenario is a situation where a minor child or disabled adult lives with relatives who supervise their decision-making, provide support and companionship and often even supply more basic needs such as food and clothing.

The difficulty that usually presents itself in situations such as this is documenting the condition!  Obviously  mental health professionals who often see the disabled person in an office environment do not have the luxury of observing them at home or visually witnessing their inability to function on a daily basis. 

It is extremely important that individuals who provide support for the disabled person also make sure that their mental health professionals are aware of the situation so it can be noted in their medical records. Additionally,  documentation should be provided by the supporting individual to show the ongoing need for daily support of the disabled person to the adjudicator or at a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. This can include testimony or documentation from people or agencies who supply assistance that would normally not be needed by an independently functioning person.

Simply diagnosing a mental disorder without concurrently producing evidence as to its impact on daily living does a great disservice to the claimant.  At Drummond Disability, we encourage our mentally challenged clients to have their relatives or support people contact us regularly and supply additional evidence to fully document the extent of their disability..

If you have questions or would like a FREE full evaluation of your disability claim do not hesitate to contact us by dialing 1-800-842-0426 or visit our website at


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